The FDA’s multiyear effort to rewrite the Quality System Regulation (QSR) to align with ISO 13485 could significantly ease the regulatory burden for device makers in multiple markets, but that effort has floundered over the past couple of years. The associated rulemaking is back on the FDA’s agenda, signaling that device makers might soon be able to deploy a single and relatively inexpensive quality management system, which in principle would significantly reduce their compliance costs.
The FDA issued a June 10 warning letter to Innova Medical Group Inc. in connection with the company’s rapid antigen tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an action that accompanies a class I recall and a safety communication.
Of all the controversies surrounding the FDA, the agency’s reliance on user fees and its use of accelerated review of therapies might be the most consistent sources of public angst. Coleen Klasmeier, a partner of Sidley Austin LLP, told BioWorld that while she is not particularly concerned about regulatory capture stemming from FDA reliance on user fees, it may be appropriate to ask whether the drug premarket review process leaves FDA staff with more confidence in a new drug application than the data would seem to suggest.
The FDA’s two-day advisory hearing yielded recommendations for risk designation for a number of product types, such as plunger-like joint manipulators, which received a unanimous endorsement for a class III designation. The advisory panel was split on the risks associated with electro-acupuncture stimulators, which the FDA must now decide whether to classify as a class III device, a move that would force a number of existing devices into clinical trials for an expensive and time-consuming PMA application.
The FDA’s Accreditation Scheme for Conformity Assessment (ASCA) program promises to smooth out the path from development to market access for device makers, but there are a few potential biocompatibility hiccups. Among these is that any customized preparation of a sample for biocompatibility testing would render that product ineligible for the ASCA pilot, but a product containing nanomaterials is also not eligible because of concerns over biocompatibility.
The decision by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to suspend the Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) rule a second time was controversial, but CMS’s Tamara Syrek Jensen vowed that the agency has made no final decision. Jensen acknowledged that the agency has not foreclosed a full-blown rescission of the MCIT proposal, a not-implausible outcome given the prospect that legislation in the works in the House Energy and Commerce Committee could render the rule moot.
Early feasibility studies for cardiology devices were a massive problem for the FDA and industry in times gone by, a problem that was believed to drive device flight from the U.S. That problem has been largely solved, according to the FDA’s Andrew Farb, but Farb noted that neurological devices are the next target for improved early feasibility study (EFS) development in the U.S., which suggests that the path to pivotal studies for devices in this space will soon be much less cumbersome.
Alivecor Inc. has elevated its patent dispute with Apple Inc. to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in a move that could damage the latter’s foray into digital health. Alivecor is alleging that Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., has infringed on Alivecor patents for electrocardiogram monitoring technology, a development that may foreshadow a continuing legal struggle between the two companies for a large and rapidly growing market.
Acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock appeared at the annual forum held by the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) and noted that real-world evidence (RWE) has tremendous potential in regulatory decision making. However, she cautioned that while “the future is very bright” for RWE, “it’s going to take longer than some of the enthusiasts might have thought” to maximize this source of data in product reviews.
The Biden administration released its full budget proposal for fiscal year 2022, increasing the FDA’s budget authority to nearly $3.6 billion, up 10% over 2021. The Alliance for a Stronger FDA said that though analysis is needed to parse out the details, the proposal will be supported.